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and for years together, on one object; and, in the end, his work, representing but an instant of time, fails to present to the mind as many ideas as the poet supplies in half a dozen lines, the work perhaps of half an hour. W. 217. Spiris.-Spirac are not merely coils, but spiral coils; tending upwards, like those of a corkscrew held point-upward. See Georg. II. 153, 154; where Virgil informs us, almost in express terms, that a snake is in orbs (orbes,) while coiled upon the ground, but in spires (spirae,) when he raises himself with a motion twisting upwards. The same distinction is observable in the passage before us, where the serpents are said to be in orbs while on the water, and in spires when folded round Laocoon. A right understanding of this word is the more necessary, because it is the only word in the description, except superant capite et cervicibus altis, which shows that the poet so far agrees with the sculptor, as to represent Laocoon and the serpents twined about him as forming an erect group. With a similar correct precision, our own Milton applies the term spires to the coils of the serpent when erect, or raised upright. “Not with indented wave Prone on the ground, as since, but on his rear.
With burnished neck of verdant gold, erect Amidst his circling spires.”—Par. Lost, Ix. 496. W. 223. Quales mugitus, &c.
“Qual' e quel toro che si slaccia in quella Ch'ha ricevuto già 'l colpo mortale, Che gir non sa, ma qua e la saltella, Wid' io lo Minotauro far cotale;” Dante Inferno, xii. 22. “Non altrimenti il toro va saltando Qualora il mortal colpo ha ricevuto, E dentro la foresta alto mugghiando Ricerca il cacciator che l’ ha feruto.” Boccaccio, in Filostrato. W. 230. Sacrum qui cuspide robur Laeserit et tergo sceleratum intorserit hastam. “Is it he 2 quoth one. Is this the man? By him who died on cross, With his cruel bow he laid full low The harmless albatross.” CoLERIDGE, Ancient Mariner.
W. 236. Vincula collo Intendunt.—Heyne, Forbiger, and Thiel, inform us, without doubt or hesitation, that intendunt is here elegantly used (“exquisitius,”) in place of illigant, innectunt; and this is the meaning which has been adopted by all the translators, as well as by Forcellini in his Dictionary. I dissent, however, on two grounds; 1st, Because there is not only no instance of intendere being used in this sense, but no instance of its being used in any sense bordering on, or at all related to, this sense. And, 2dly, Because the strict interpretation of intendunt (viz. stretch or extend.) affords an unobjectionable meaning of the passage; they stretch ropes to the neck; prosaically, throw ropes over the neck. This meaning is not only unobjectionable in itself, but preferable to the former, inasmuch as it was easier to throw a rope over the neck, than to tie or fasten it at so great a height. The idea of stretching, or eatension, will, I think, be found to enter into all the significations, whether literal or metaphorical, of intendere. W. 236.” Collo.—“In collo noli argutare; cum fune ex eo nexo trahi equus vix commode posset, intellige simpl. funem ex anteriore parte aptum.” Heyne; who seems not to have perceived how useful the rope round the neck would be, not alone for steadying and preventing the horse from toppling over to one side, but for drawing it up into the city, viz. over the broken down fortifications; Scandit muros, v. 237. W. 240. Minatur.—By an error of which none but a French critic could be guilty, Boileau understands this extremely common metaphor literally. “Il (viz. Virgil) ne se contente pas de préter de la colere a cet arbre, (probably referring to and similarly misunderstanding v. 53,) mais il lui fait faire des menaces a ces laboureurs.”—Reflea'. Critiques, XI. W. 242. Ipso in limine porta.-Our author having expressly informed us, (v. 234,) that the walls were divided for the admission of the horse, porta must be, not the gate of the city, but the opening or entrance made by the division of the walls. For a similar application of the word porta, see Qua data porta, En. I. 83. Those commentators who understand porta to mean the gate of the city, are reduced to the forlorn extremity of construing dividimus muros, not divide the walls, but enlarge the opening of the gate; and of understanding Scandit muros to be no more than a poetical form of expression for entering the enlarged gate. “Scandit muros, h. e. transcendit; major imago, quam si portam intrat, quae, murorum impositorum et attingentium parte dejectá, erat latior facta.”—Heyne. W. 247. Ora, dei jussu non unquam credita Teucris.--That credita is predicated, not of Cassandra, but, as in Ovid. Metam. xv. 74, (Primus quoque talibus ora Docta quidem solvit, sed non et credita, verbis,) of ora, is proved, not only by the stronger poetical sense of the passage so interpreted, but by the emphatic position of ora, closing the sentence to which it belongs, and at the same time beginning a new line. I do not know whether it has been observed by any commentator, but I think that a very slight examination of Virgil's style is sufficient to show, that his emphatic words are almost invariably placed at, or as near to as possible, the beginning of the line; that where an increase of emphasis is required, the emphatic word is separated from the immediately succeeding context by a pause in the sense, which allows the mind of the reader, or voice of the reciter, to dwell on the word with a longer emphasis; that, where the word is required to be still more emphatic, it is not only placed at the beginning of the line, and separated from the succeeding context by a pause, but is made to stand at the end of its own sentence, and at the greatest possible distance from the words in that sentence to which it is most immediately related, as ora in the passage before us; Julius, I. 288; Phaenissa, I. 714; Crudelis, Iv. 311; and that when a maximum of emphasis is required, the word thus placed emphatically at the beginning of the line, and with a pause immediately following, is a repetition or reduplication of a word which has already been used in the preceding sentence, as Lumina, II. 406: and I believe it will still farther be found, that, whenever it is possible, not only the reduplicated word, but its original also, is placed in the emphatic position at the beginning of the line; thus, Nate, nate, En. I. 664, 665; Me, me, IV, 351, 354; Nos, mos, Bucol. I. 3 and 4. In confirmation of the above opinion, that the beginning of the line is, in Virgil's writings, the seat of the emphasis, I may observe that the nominative pronouns (which it is well known are, in Latin, never expressed unless they are emphatic,) are, with few or no exceptions, found at the beginning of lines. From these principles may be derived a double argument in favour of the authenticity of the four disputed lines at the commencement of the Eneis ; 1st, That the emphatic pronouns ille ego are, according to Virgil's custom, placed in the emphatic position at the commencement of the line; and, 2dly, That the words arma virumque are considerably more emphatic towards the close of the sentence, and in connection with at nunc horrentia Martis, (and, I may add, contrasted, cano with modulatus, arma with silvis and arva, and virum with colono,) than without connection and contrast, and contrary to Virgil's habitual molle atque facetum, abruptly at the commencement of the sentence and poem.
Having been thus led to speak incidentally of the four introductory lines of the Eneis, I shall perhaps be excused if I add, that I entirely dissent from the judgment pronounced on those lines by some of Virgil's most unpoetical poetical commentators, and especially by Dryden; and that I regard those lines, (to write which Virgil seems to have taken up the very pen, which he had laid down after writing the last eight lines of the last Georgic,) as not only worthy of Virgil, but as affording, (especially in the fine poetical figure, coegi arva ut parerent,) the most abundant evidence that they were written by no other hand. See comment. En. I. 1.
W. 249. Festà velamus fronde.—Velamus (very imperfectly rendered by Thiel, ornamus ; by Surrey, deck;) means to veil, i. e. to cover in such a manner, or to such an eatent, as to hide from view, and thus denotes the profusion of green boughs used. Compare Ramis tegerem ut frondentibus aras.-En. III. 25.
W. 250. Ruit oceano Now.—Inasmuch as the ancients always represented Night as following the course of the sun; i. e. as rising in the east, traversing the sky, and descending or setting in the west, (see Stat. Theb. II. 61; Virg. En. II. 8; III. 512;) the words, ruit oceano Nox, applied to the commencement of night, are to be understood, not as presenting us with the ordinary English image of night falling on the ocean, but as presenting us with the directly reverse image of personified night rising (rushing) from the ocean. So Dante, philosophically and following the ancient model—
“Gia era 'l sole all' orizzonte giunto,
(To be continued.)
THE Portland Vase may be described as an amphora about ten inches high, formed of glass of a rich dark blue tint, and decorated with figures in relief of the same material, but white and opaque. With respect to the mode of manufacture, it does not admit of a doubt that the blue glass was covered with a thin coating or layer of white, as in the ornamental glass manufactures of the present day, productions familiar to all. On the white coating thus attached, the ornamental design was engraved by the ordinary process employed in engraving gems and cameos; the unengraved spaces of white glass were then ground away, leaving the figures and objects forming the composition, in sharp relief on the dark blue ground.
The form of the vase is very elegant, though it has suffered from the uncertainties and irregularities incident to its material and mode of manufacture. The handles spring from the shoulder where the bulge is greatest, and are again attached to about the middle of the neck. The graven decoration is confined to the body of the vase, where it decreases from the spring of the handles by a curve of graceful convexity to the foot. The low relief of the figures, and the judgment with which the points and lines of highest relief are distributed, combine to prevent any detrimental interference with the character of the outline.
The curve of concavity from the shoulder of the vase and all round up to the lip, is therefore a blank space of dark blue glass; but this is agreeably foreshortened when it is looked at a little above the level of the eye, an aspect which at once gives increased richness to its outlines, and is required for the exhibition of the figures, both separately and in conjunction, as they are arranged on the sloping surface.
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